Showing posts with label DIY. Show all posts
Showing posts with label DIY. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Scotts Hand-Held Lawn Spreader

 My Scotts handheld lawn spreader reviewed

Scotts hand held lawn spreader

Most homeowners love a lush green lawn and achieving that beautiful lawn can be a lot of work. Luckily for me, I have a small yard so taking care of it is not so bad. 

If you have a large yard you probably have a lawn spreader on wheels. I honestly don't have room in my garage for one more thing, so I found this handy little handheld lawn spreader. It is perfect for my small yard.

Features of Scotts Hand-Held Lawn Spreader:

Great for small yards
All sturdy plastic 
Fully assembled  and ready to go
Five spreader settings
Holds up to 1,000 sq. ft. of lawn products
5-Feet of broadcast 
Easy hand crank

Scotts recommends feeding your lawn with weed and feed or lawn food four times a year. I would only feed twice a year, once in early spring and then again in the fall.

Because we live only two blocks from a lake I quit using weed and feed because of chemical runoff into the lake. I still use my lawn spreader in early spring. I spread granulated lime and a couple weeks after that I spread grass seed.

The lime increases the PH balance and calcium in the soil for thicker greener lawns and improves the soil structure and root development. The grass seed is for new growth and helps choke out weeds. The spreader is perfect for small yards, gardens, and flower beds.

In the winter this little lawn spreader is a handy tool to spread ice melt on my driveway and sidewalks. Although I prefer spreading the lime and grass seed much better. Scotts even makes a battery-powered spreader. For this one, you will need two AA batteries.

Find more Product Reviews here: ReviewThisProductReviews.com

Scotts Wizz Battery Powered Fertilizer, Seed, and Ice SpreaderScotts Wizz Battery Powered Fertilizer, Seed, and Ice SpreaderScotts Wizz Battery Powered Fertilizer, Seed, and Ice SpreaderScott's 71133 HandyGreen Hand Held SpreaderScott's 71133 HandyGreen Hand-Held SpreaderScott's 71133 HandyGreen Hand Held Spreader

 




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Wednesday, April 27, 2022

The Original Lysol Concentrate - Reviewed

 This 12oz. little brown bottle of the original Lysol concentrate will make 9 gallons of cleaning solution.

Lysol Concentrate

With all of the convenience today of easy-to-use cleaners in spray bottles, and wipes, it makes me wonder does anyone still use this little brown bottle of Lysol concentrate? Well, we always have a bottle under our kitchen sink.

Lysol concentrate cleans, disinfects, deodorizes, and eliminates germs on non-porous surfaces. It will eliminate bacteria and viruses that I can't even pronounce. 

Some of the many uses for Lysol Concentrate:

  • Floors
  • Washable Walls
  • Appliance exteriors
  • Counter Tops
  • Bathtubs
  • Showers
  • Doorknobs
  • Toilet Bowl exteriors
To clean and deodorize just mix 2 to 3 tablespoons with one gallon of warm water. To disinfect and remove heavy dirt, grease and grime use 5 tablespoons to one quart of warm water.

True Story about this little brown bottle:

Many years ago in high school my buddy and I needed some extra money to take our dates to the prom. We had to buy flowers and take our dates to dinner. Since it was early in the spring we knew that people would be spring cleaning their homes. So we advertised for washing walls.  

Well, the ad worked and we had several customers lined up. So we gathered up our buckets, ladders, and rags. My mother handed me the little brown bottle of Lysol concentrate and told us to add a couple of cap fulls to every bucket, it will leave a fresh scent in their home. I still use the little brown bottle today.

Oh, and by the way, I married my prom date. Fran and I will soon be celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary.


Find more Product Reviews Here:

LYSOL Concentrate Disinfectant, Original Scent 12 oz (Pack of 5)LYSOL Concentrate Disinfectant, Original Scent 12 oz (Pack of 5)LYSOL Concentrate Disinfectant, Original Scent 12 oz (Pack of 5)LEAKTITE 500 5-Quart Plastic PailLEAKTITE 500 5-Quart Plastic PailLEAKTITE 500 5-Quart Plastic Pail

 




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Wednesday, February 9, 2022

The Best Tool Roll Organizer To Store & Protect Your Tools

Whether you enjoy jewelry making, building, painting or refurbishing models, other hobby, crafts & DIY projects or doing small electronics repairs, investing in good quality tools for doing delicate precision work can help achieve better results faster and with less effort by giving you more precise control and leverage while reducing the strain on your hands (your most valuable tools by far!).

Choosing the right tool storage and organization system can not only help protect that investment but also enhance your efficiency and enjoyment of the creative process while you are working on your projects. However, I have learned the hard way how challenging it can be to evaluate, compare and, ultimately, determine the best solution for your individual tool storage and organization needs, 

Today, I am sharing my personal product review of the DuraTech Tool Roll Organizer, 21 Pockets Tool Bag Roll that I bought a few months ago as a Christmas gift for my husband, who has an extensive collection of precision hand tools for his hobbies, crafts nd DIY projects.

This awesome waterproof DuraTech 21-pocket tool roll organizer can securely hold many tools of different sizes and shapes. You can view them at all a glance, find and remove what you want, and return it to its spot quickly and easily when you have finished using it.

My husband John works long hours at a rewarding but stressful and high-pressure job. One of his favorite ways to relax and recharge his batteries is working on a variety of hobby, crafts & DIY projects. He especially enjoys collecting and restoring rare and hard-to-find, vintage 1:43 scale die-cast model cars and trucks, as well as collecting and refining hard-to-find plaster buildings for our Christmas village display and then painting them in stunning, elaborate detail and adding interior lights. Sometimes, he even adds strategically placed, tiny color-changing LEDs to create special effects (for example, randomly flashing multicolored lights inside a Harry Potter-esque magic shop, as though the wizards inside are trying out different magic wands to find the one that will choose him or her, or simulating the glow of a blacksmith's forge by carving out a large, wide opening in a wall, lining it with iridescent, colored foil through which you can see tiny LEDs, each cycling through red, orange and yellow and out of sync with each other). We actually display two different Christmas villages, one made up of lighted Dept. 56 Christmas in the City buildings and another with John's amazing carved, exquisitely painted and lighted plaster buildings. During the holidays, our display can take up half of our living room, with two villages arranged around that year's train tracks layout and connected by John's wonderful, vintage, O-scale model train collection, some of which he inherited from his beloved uncle.

Since John isn't easy to buy gifts for, I usually ask him for a Christmas wish list to give me some guidance. (I also choose one or two gifts for him that will be complete surprises, but in case they miss the mark, I know that he'll at least get some of the gifts he really wants!) Two of the items on his most recent wish list were a set of good quality, upgraded pliers and cutters and a better storage and organization solution for them and the rest of his precision hobby tools. 

Since I used many of the same items as jewelry making tools, I knew exactly which pliers and cutters I wanted to buy for him. Xuron makes very high quality tools for small-scale, delicate, precision work at a very reasonable price. They are also more durable than similar tools I have purchased from much more expensive brands. So I chose several pairs of my favorite Xuron pliers and cutters as part of John's Christmas gift.

However, while there are lots of great toolboxes and other tool storage and organization options for larger tools, like hammers, wrenches and sockets, I knew that finding a better tool storage and organization solution for my husband that would meet his specific requirements would be a lot more challenging, since he had already experimented with several different types of tool organizers and storage that weren't working for him.

Close-up photo of Xuron and other jewelry making and hobby precision tools (pliers and cutters)
The five Xuron jewelry making and electronics pliers and cutters I gifted to my husband for Christmas, nestled in the four lower and far right upper pockets of the DuraTech 21-pocket tool roll organizer I also gave him to store them and the other precision tools in his collection.

Great Tool Storage and Organization Solutions for Precision Pliers, Model Building Tools, Jewelry Making Tools, Etc. Are Surprisingly Hard to Find!

Last year, John purchased a secondhand, wheeled O.P.I. nail polish salesperson's sample case that he has been converting into a super cool, customized, mobile crafting workstation with a spacious, attached, removable work surface that he calls his hobby tray. Since he doesn't have a dedicated workspace for his hobbies and crafts, this clever solution now enables him to work on crafts and DIY projects whenever he has a bit of time, wherever he happens to be. Even better, it also doubles as a compact, consolidated storage organizer for all his painted plaster Christmas village, electronics repair and vintage die-cast car refurbishing and model building tools, supplies and current projects. 

He has been having a blast "imagineering" (to use a Disney term) and tweaking his one-of-a-kind mobile craft storage and workstation over time. In fact, redesigning and refining has turned out to be one of his favorite projects to date!

He had come up with workable solutions for customizing the interior in terms of organizing and storing his paintbrushes, paints, glues, sandpaper, markers and other supplies and for safely storing delicate project works-in-progress. Unfortunately, he wanted (and needed) a better way to store and organize a variety of other tools, including pliers and cutters, needle files, riffler files, X-ACTO knives and blades, hemostats, dental picks, micro carving tools, tweezers, specialty pens, scissors, miniature screwdrivers, a ruler, a pin vise, micro drill bits, etc. 

These precision tools needed to be easily visible and acccessible while in use and protected during storage and transport, and the tool organizer not only would need to fit neatly inside the top compartment of the new mobile hobby storage/workstation but also work as a standalone, portable tool storage organizer that he could easily bring to another location, for example, to help a friend or family member with an electronics or jewelry repair project. 

In addition, John's ideal tool organizer and storage solution would need to hold a lot of tools, in a wide range of shapes and sizes, and store them compactly, as well as be both lightweight, sturdy and wear-resistant. 

Traditional and Nontraditional Tool Organizers Didn't Meet Our Needs

Like John, I have been a "maker" since I was a child. and have spent many years trying to find better storage and organizing solutions for my jewelry making, beading, metal clay, polymer clay and painting tools and supplies. While I discovered some wonderful bead storage and organization solutions years ago for my enormous collection of rare and vintage beads and jewelry making supplies, I continue to search for better jewelry making tool storage and organization solutions.

Between the two of us, we have tried or considered a variety of traditional hobby, DIY and craft tool holders and organizers, such as brush holders, tool caddies, plier stands and tackle boxes. (Plano tackle box systems are wonderful for storing jewelry findings, beads, and other jewelry making supplies, but not the best solution for storing, organizing and protecting delicate precision tools.)

We both have also tried a number of non-traditional tool storage and organization solutions, such as cosmetics organizers, including the acrylic eye pencil and lip pencil organizers and lipstick/lip gloss organizer that I keep on my vanity for makeup.  (They work great for their intended use!)

Unfortunately, every commercial or DIY tool organizer solution either of us has tried over the years has had significant limitations that failed to meet our respective precision tool storage and organization needs. As a result, each of us ended up having to cobble together several different tool storage and organization products to accommodate our collections.

Some of the Tool Storage and Organizer Products We Tried That Missed the Mark (and Why)

  • Storing delicate, precision tools in a Plano tackle box rack system would give them no protection. They would rub against each other, potentially nicking or dulling cutter blades or scratching or dinging smooth pliers jaws, creating uneven surfaces that would transfer to the wire or metal on which they were used. 
    • For example, John's coarse bastard file or diamond-coated riffler files could wreak havoc on his pair of fine nippers if they were to come into contact. 
    • Another important downside of that type of storage is that it would not be easy to see each individual tool at a glance and find and remove the desired one quickly and easily.
  • Tool storage organizers with uniform-size compartments, like brush holders or marker storage units, would not work for pliers, cutters or similarly shaped tools. Even straight tools of varying widths, lengths/heights and diameters could not be stored and organized in these storage solutions efficiently (and some tools were too wide or thick to fit at all.    
  • None of the three common types of pliers storage solutions I have used have been particularly convenient for me, and none would work for John's mobile hobby and crafts cart. 

A pliers rack is fine if you have a permanent spot for it to live in a dedicated workspace. However, they don't protect the tips of the pliers, cutters or nippers from each other and would be unsuitable to lay on their sides in John's rolling hobby station cart.

Wood pliers blocks keep the pliers and cutters separated and, therefore, somewhat protected. However, they don't fit every pair of pliers or cutters (especially those with wider/ergonomic handles or grips), and removing and replacing the tools into the holes in the block requires a bit more fiddling than we want to do, especially for the pairs in the middle of the block.

I have a lot of jewelry making pliers and cutters, most of which I have been storing in zippered tool pouches (similar to this Eurotool tool pouch with zipper), for lack of a better lightweight, easily portable solution. They have elastic loops or straps inside to hold the tools in place and prevent them from knocking into each other when not in use. Unfortunately, since the manufacturer doesn't know the sizes, shapes, handle widths and other characteristics of the pliers and cutters you own or how many you have, I have found that unless the zipppered tool case was designed by the manufacturer for a specific brand and set of these tools, it is very difficult to use the interior storage space efficiently.

More importantly, in my experience, it is impossible to remove a pair of pliers or cutters from the elasticized loops without using two hands, even if the tool pouch was custom designed by (or for) the tool manufacturer to work with a specific set of pliers and cutters from a single product line, and especially if the tips have protective caps. So, whenever you are working on a project and need one of those tools, you have to stop working, put down the project so you have both hands free, and then wiggle and coax the required pair of pliers or cutters out from under their elastic strap restraints (without banging into or dislodging any adjacent pairs) before you can pick up the project again with your nondomiant hand and try to pick up where you left off before this unnecessary and distracting interruption.

The need for a simpler, more compact, more portable tool storage solution became a much higher priority when John began customizing his new mobile hobby workstation. (Since we have also been rethinking and trying to redesign my too-small crafts room/ "studio" space, if I could figure out a great tool storage and organization solution for John, I had my fingers crossed that maybe it could work for my jewelry making and crafting tools, too!) 

The DuraTech 21-Pocket Tool Roll Organizer to the Rescue

One Tool Organizer and Storage Solution to Rule (and Hold and Protect) Them All!

Photo showing the full length interior of the open tool roll filled with tools
The main pockets are in wider and narrower widths to accommodate a wide range of tool types, shapes and sizes and provide flexibility in how your organize them. The bright turquoise blue lining also makes it much easier to see and distinguish between the "business ends" of different pliers, cutters and other precision tools.

As usual for me when shopping for an important product purchase, I did my due diligence. 

I began with an in-depth needs analysis, asking John to describe in detail his storage and organization requirements for his model building tools and to take me through all the types of craft storage he had already tried and explain why they didn't do what he wanted and needed.

Then, armed with that information (and a spinning head!), I dove into my product research. Since I had already been looking for solutions to similar storage and organization challenges for my jewelry making tools for my compact crafts studio redesign, I was already familiar with a lot of what was out there and knew that none of what I had found so far would meet my husband's very specific needs.

Fortunately, my persistence paid off! I wanted to make sure that whatever tool storage and organization solution I picked for John would be one he would be happy with, so I had decided to run my choice by him before ordering it, rather than keeping it a surprise until he opened it with his other Christmas gifts.

When I showed him the DuraTech Tool Roll Organizer, 21 Pockets Tool Bag Roll I had picked out for him on Amazon, I could telll immediately from his interest that I was on the right track. The more he read, looked at the product photos and read the product reviews, the more his eyes lit up.

I placed the order that same day, fingers crossed that he would love his new DuraTech tool roll organizer as much when he put his gift to use after Christmas as he did when looking at the product page. Fortunately, he did!

Key Features and Benefits

After filling his new tool organizer with his scale model making tools and using his DuraTech 21-pocket tool roll organizer for more than a month, here are the things he loves about his gift.

Extreme close-up photo showing bartack stitching reinforcement between the pockets, which are bound with stitched twill bias binding tape
Areas of stress are reinforced with bartack stitching between the pockets and heavy-duty, stitched twill tape bias binding enclosing the edges of the pockets and flaps. .

Durable Premium Fabric, High Quality Construction

  • The double-layer, high-quality, waterproof 1680-denier turquoise blue and 900-denier black oxford cloth fabrics are extremely durable, making this Dura-Tech tool roll organizer both sturdy and water-resistant. (Oxford cloth is a tight basketweave fabric. The ones used in this tool roll appear to be ballistic coated nylon or polyester oxford cloth, similar to Cordura fabric.)
    • Even if you aren't storing your tools in a car or shed or traveling with them, so they are exposed to the elements, it's still nice to know that they will be protected against spills and water damage in the event of an accident.
  • The comfortable haul handle, adjustable straps, buckles and hook-and-loop flap closure are also made of sturdy, high-quality materials with durable construction, e.g.:
    • bartack stitching reinforcement between the pockets and on the top haul handle, areas most likely to be subject to stress during use.
    • edges of the pockets and flaps are bound with heavy-duty twill tape bias binding tape and stitched securely with sturdy contrasting thread.
  • After two months of nearly nonstop use, my husband’s DuraTech 21-pocket tool roll organizer still looks brand new.

    Thoughtful and Attractive Design

    Pockets Galore

    • The 17 main pockets that span the length of the tool roll's interior along both sides are tall and come in different widths. The wider pockets can accommodate and hold most pliers and cutters securely to prevent them from moving around and potentially causing damage to the working surfaces. The narrower pockets are great for storing thinner tools and can even accommodate a 12-inch ruler, as you can see in the photos of my husband's DuraTech 21-pocket tool roll organizer.
    • The three shorter, deeper, gusseted pockets at one end can hold a surprising amount, and there is a flap with a hook-and-loop tape closure to help keep the contents from escaping accidentally. These are great for storing smaller items (e.g., a set of micro drill bits housed in a hard storage case, a set of sockets, small packages of nails, screws or washers, a tape measure). 
    • At the opposite end, there is also a sturdy mesh pocket attached to the outside of one of the 17 main pockets. Since this mesh pocket is shorter and also see-through, it's perfect for shorter tools, such as needle files, that could slide down inside one of the taller, opaque, main pockets, where they would be hidden and hard to reach. 
    • The DuraTech tool roll organizer lays flat when unrolled and filled with tools, and there’s plenty of room in each pocket. This means you not only can store all your crafting, model building or jewelry making tools in one place and see them all at a glance, you can also easily remove and replace each tool with just one hand while you are working, so you don't have to put down your project every time you need to reach for a new tool.
    Close-up photo of mesh pocket
    The open mesh pocket at one end of my husband's DuraTech Tool Roll Organizer holds micro drill bits (in a fitted case), needle files and a small diamond nail file for rounding and smoothing wire ends

    Striking Use of Contrasting Colors Goes Beyond Just Good Looks

    • The two-tone black and bright turquoise color-blocked design looks very sharp and distinctive. Bonus—the bright blue color makes it easy to spot your tool storage organizer quickly if you happen to misplace it (or if your work space, craft room or studio is messy and overcrowded, like mine). 
    • The "business end" of the tool(s) in each stitched pocket are much more visible against the backdrop of the bright turquoise fabric lining in the center. So, you can quickly and easily distinguish a pair of round-nose pliers from a matching pair of needle-nose pliers or a Phillips-head from a flathead mini screwdriver, or pick out an individual diamond-coated riffler file from others in an assorted set.

    Versatile Touches

    • The large, sturdy, aluminum D-ring next to the haul handle can be used to hang your DuraTech tool roll organizer from a hook or to use as a keyring, attach a water bottle, etc.
    Close-up detail photo of bartack-reinforced haul handle, tough, high-denier oxford cloth fabric and sturdy D-ring for hanging
    This close-up photo of the bartack-stitched, reinforced haul handle, durable, high-denier, heavy-duty oxford cloth fabric and large, sturdy D-ring help you visualize a few examples of the high quality materials, workmanship and construction that went into this superior  tool roll orgaizer.

    Capacious When in Use, Lightweight and Compact When Rolled up for Storage

    • The DuraTech 21-pocket tool roll organizer can hold a lot of pliers, cutters and other hand tools.
    • The adjustable straps allow this tool roll organizer to accommodate a large number of tools of varying shapes and sizes and store them securely. In fact, if you shake the closed and buckled  tool roll, you won't hear any of the tools rattling against each other. 
    • As you can see, even after my husband put all his favorite model making, crafts and DIY and other hobby tools into his new DuraTech tool roll organizer, there is still plenty of storage room for future specialty pliers or other precision tool acquisitions. (As any hobby or crafting enthusiast will tell you, you can never have too many tools, lol!)
    • Given its generous capacity, this tool roll is surprisingly lightweight and compact. It's takes up relatively little real estate on a work surface or in a cabinet, drawer or rolling cart and doesn't add much weight to that of its contents, making it extremely portable.

    A Remarkable Value

    • After researching so many tool organizers and storage solutions, I was very surprised (and delighted) to discover how affordable this DuraTech tool roll organizer is, given its obviously  superior quality materials, construction, design and durability compared to most of the other types of storage and organization products I've found during my extensive searches. 
    • Currently this DuraTech 21-pocket tool roll organizer is priced at less than $18 on Amazon, which I consider an absolute steal in terms of value for money.

    A Inexpensive and Thoughtful Gift for Any Jewelry Making, Scale Model Making, Electronics or DIY Enthusiast

    My husband couldn't be more thrilled with his DuraTech 21-pocket tool roll organizer. I'm seriously considering buying another for my jewelry making pliers, cutters, awls and other hand tools.

    It's hard to imagine anyone whose hobbies and interests include model railroading, remote-control cars and planes, building scale models or dioramas, jewelry making, watch repair, electronics and similar creative pursuits who wouldn't appreciate receiving such an attractive, thoughtfully designed, well made and durable storage organizer for their precision tools as a gift.

    Of course, if that description also fits you, I encourage you to consider treating yourself to one of these terrific DuraTech tool roll organizers. 

    The Best Tool Roll Organizer To Store and Protect Your Tools by Margaret Schindel


    Read More Product Reviews by Our Review This Reviews Contributors

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    Read More DIY Reviews by Our Review This Reviews Contributors

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    Tuesday, December 7, 2021

    Kawaii Craft Life - Book Review

    Super-cute projects for home, work & play


    Kawaii


    The word Kawaii means “cute” in Japanese.  It has the power to make you smile. It is the precious, the cuddly, and the silly.  Kawaii is all things super-cute.


    The Kawaii Craft Life Book


    The first part of the Kawaii Craft Life craft book lists the tools you need for each craft (Needlecraft Essentials), plus materials lists and hand-stitching basics, with illustrations and directions on how-to-do each craft.  Then the book is divided into sections filled with patterns and instructions.




    The sections include:


    Feltcraft 




    These include tiny plushies, woodland critters, coasters, pencil toppers and more.


    Counted Cross-Stitch




    Patterns include cute animals wineglass charms, gift tags, greeting cards, cupcake toppers, napkin rings, magnets and even earrings.  Color charts of a seal, a penguin, a panda and a cat, bunny, frog, acorns and mushrooms, and even designs of Sushi food, are among the cute designs to cross stitch or use in other needlework crafts.


    Embroidery


    Stitch a cheerful blooms coin purse, an apple pie apron, tea towels and and a Little Monster onesie.  Embroider a tote or a dragon bookmark.  Stitch cute veggies on napkins or create a magic unicorn wall art.  Woodland critters look darling on just about anything. 


    The Authors


    The authors of Kawaii Craft Life are Sosae and Dennis Caetano.  Years ago they began their crafting journey with needle and thread and found it was a wonderful way to deal with stress – a way to unwind and express their creativity.  They began to design needlecraft projects – from felt animals to cottage ornaments to Kawaii monsters. Whether they are creating a pattern or stitching it to life, needlecraft brings them happiness.  Sosae & Dennis hope that with this Kawaii Craft Life book it does the same to you.


    Summary




    Kawaii Craft Life is a fun crafting book filled with home décor and playtime pals, all with the  'cuteness factor'.  It will bring “adorable” and “lovable” into your crafting world. Few can resist the charm of Kawaii, so come create a cute and cuddly craft. 



    For more craft reviews, check out ReviewThisCrafts.com 


    For more book reviews, check out ReviewThisBooks.com


    *Kawaii Craft Life Book Review written by

    Wednesday Elf





    Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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    Wednesday, November 24, 2021

    Winter Time and Birds, Some Good Advice Regarding Pigeons! A DIY Project!

    Every Winter the Birds Come Calling! 

    I guess that's because we (my other half and I) love to see and feed the birds during the coldest months of the year.  There is something wonderful in seeing even the plain little sparrows munching on suet cakes that we have made or bought. The winter months can be tough on little birds as they need a lot of energy just to keep their tiny bodies warm.



    Image by Kurt Bouda from Pixabay

    There is one bird though, that I do not want on my balcony!  I do NOT want pigeons!

    Why?  Pigeons are very dirty birds.  They like to make their homes in high spaces!  If they can find a spot out of the wind and elements, they will call that spot home!  They will also chase away any of the smaller birds that I really do like having around my balcony in the winter months.  So what can I do?



    Well, I was checking out ways to keep the pigeons from even wanting to come onto my balcony, but the availability of food for the smaller birds is what is attracting them.  So if there is no food there will be no birds and I will miss out on some really fun times watching these little critters. I need to do something else that will make the pigeons look for other lodgings.

    Pigeons are spooked easily,  so one method of deterring them is to hang windchimes and balloons so that there is always movement and sound happening.  Hopefully they will find a quieter place to call home!

    While thinking about this problem and the solutions I had an idea that would do the trick. I came across a whole stack of old CD disks that we no longer needed or wanted.  Old operating systems on CD's were taking up space and were really not necessary for our computer operations.  One side of the disk has a label on it and the other side has beautiful rainbow colors!   So I took a dozen or so of these disks and set to work.

    I drilled a hole in the disk about an inch inside the outer rim!   Then just thread some wire or garden twine through the hole and leave enough string/rope to make a loop big enough to pass the disk through it. You can hang them all at the same level or vary the lengths as you please.   Then take all of your strung CD's outside and hang them with the loop around a cord or light string.  .  

    At our home we have a string of lights on our balcony because we love to sit out there evenings during the summer months!  This string of lights is now lit for the holidays and it looks amazing with my hanging CD's!  Just check out the short video I took!  You can see the effect it has in the daytime and at night!  




    The sunlight plays on the discs sending light all around the balcony!  It does not take much wind to make them spin and when they are spinning light beams are playing all around the balcony.  I am so pleased with the outcome.  They are quite pretty with their rainbow colors and they themselves are not at all noisy!  Even in the windiest of days if the CD's bang around, you just hear a little clicking sound.  










    Evenings on the balcony are so pretty with rainbow hues being seen from all corners.  I have a mirror on the one side and my lights and the disks are nicely reflected in it.  It makes it seem like I have twice as many lights and CD's on the balcony!  I personally love the look!

    What do you need to accomplish this for yourself?  A DREMEL TOOL is great for drilling the holes or you can use a regular drill with a fairly small bit (depending on the size of your cord).   If you don't have lights to hang these from, you can make a line with any kind of twine and fasten it with some hooks to where ever you want these hanging. .You can also use Christmas hooks to hang these from an eaves-trough.  Vary the lengths of the cords or keep them all the same, that is up to you entirely.  

    What I have found in just the short time that these have been up, is that the little birds are not scared of the light show, but the pigeons are not coming to roost anymore.  Hopefully this will keep them away. 

    I checked into other methods of keeping pigeons off the balcony, but they involve either hurting the birds or making the railings uncomfortable not just for the birds but for us as well.  I don't want to hurt anything, but don't want to encourage those pigeons to roost on my balcony.  

    I will let you know how it works, but, for right now it seems to be doing the trick!  No pigeons were harmed during this trial and I suspect they won't be hurt or harmed in any other way while these are on my balcony!

      





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    Wednesday, October 20, 2021

    The Best Acrylic Fabric Paints for Painting Clothes and Accessories

    Acrylic fabric paints, iron-on appliques and other embellishments are a fun and easy way to transform ordinary t-shirts, sweatshirts, denim jackets and jeans into special, one-of-a-kind clothing designs. 

    Even if you don’t feel especially artistic, it’s extremely easy to add striking hand painted designs to basic wardrobe items by applying acrylic fabric paint through a stencil with a foam pouncer. 

    Embellishing clothing with fabric paints is also a wonderful project to do with kids. Both my fashionista niece and her younger brother used to love taking solid color T-shirts and creating their own hand painted and stenciled designer tees, which they wore with pride.

    Some fabric paints also work well on other materials, including leather and vinyl, so they’re great for painting shoes, sandals, handbags, belts and other accessories to give them a whole new look with fresh colors, color blocking, patterns or painted accents.

    I have researched and used different types, brands and formulas of fabric paints in different price ranges. In this review I will share my favorite acrylic fabric paints for decorating clothing and accessories. 

    The Best, Most Versatile Acrylic Fabric Paints for Embellishing Clothing & Accessories

    Why Use Acrylic Fabric Paints?

    Acrylic fabric paints, also called acrylic textile paints, are formulated specifically for use on fabric clothing and other textiles. Unlike fabric dyes and alcohol-based textile paints or inks, they do not spread and saturate the fibers. Most work best on untreated or pre-washed, natural fabrics and synthetic fabrics whose fiber content contains at least 50% natural fibers. 

    Acrylic textile paints are usually thinner, penetrate fibers better and dry more flexible than standard acrylic paints formulated for art or craft uses. Fabric paints also contain a binder that helps them adhere much better to natural fibers after the paint dries and is heat-set (usually with an iron). This binder makes the painted designs more durable, so they can better withstand repeated washing and resist cracking, peeling or flaking when the fabric is gently stretched or folded, such as when you put on, move around in, take off or put away your painted clothing.   

    More transparent colors usually have a thinner consistency and are softer to the touch when dry compared to more opaque fabric paints. They are great for lighter color fabrics, since the color of the clothing will show through them. For the same reason, opaque fabric paints will show up much better on darker clothing, although they are slightly thicker and will dry a bit stiffer than more transparent formulas.

    Good Quality Fabric Paints Give the Best Results

    Jacquard makes moderately priced, high-quality, highly pigmented paints, dyes, mica powders and other art and craft supplies. Jacquard's Textile, Neopaque and Lumiere lines are my go-to acrylic paints for painting fabrics.

    Photo of Jacquard Textile acrylic paints "Exciter Pack" assortment

    Jacquard Textile 

    Jacquard Textile paints have a medium- to light-bodied consistency and come in 39 semi-transparent colors. Mixing any of the other colors with 123 White will create a pastel shade. You can make any color more transparent without affecting the quality or consistency by mixing it with Jacquard Textile 100 Colorless Extender. (Another option, which I don’t recommend, is diluting the paints with up to 25% water, since it will reduce their viscosity and negatively affect the quality.)  Mixing any other Jacquard Textile color with #220 Super Opaque White will make it more opaque. 

    The Jacquard Textile Color Exciter Pack is an economical assortment that includes small bottles of nine of the most useful colors in the line. It's a great way to try these paints without investing a lot of money.

    Jacquard Textile colors can also be mixed with Jacquard Lumiere, Neopaque or Dye-Na-Flow paints or with Jacquard Pearl Ex Powdered Pigments to create custom colors and effects.

    Jacquard Neopaque and Lumiere

    Neopaque is Jacquard’s line of light-bodied, opaque acrylic paints. They come in 21 colors plus a Flowable Extender medium that can be used to make the colors more transparent without altering the paint’s texture, consistency, adherence and other key properties. Lumiere is a companion line of 33 beautiful metallic and pearlescent paint colors designed to complement the Neopaque solid colors and have similar characteristics. My favorite Lumiere paints are the color-shifting duo-chrome colors!

    Even though the Jacquard Neopaque and Jacquard Lumiere lines have not been optimized specifically for painting on fabrics, like the Jacquard Textile line, they have many of the same characteristics and are also considered fabric paints. After they have dried and been heat-set, both Neopaque and Lumiere paints adhere to textiles very well, remain flexible and resist cracking, peeling and chipping. I have used them to paint fleece sweatshirts, both freehand and with stencils, and they have withstood many washings well.

    Both formulas are opaque, highly pigmented and provide good coverage, even on dark fabrics. You can mix any Neopaque or Lumiere shade with Neopaque Flowable Extender to make it more transparent without changing its consistency, thickness, flexibility, adherence or other important characteristics. 

    Similarly to the Jacquard Textile line, you can mix pastel shades by blending a small amount of Neopaque White into any of the other Neopaque colors.

    Photo of Jacquard Neopaque and Lumiere acrylic paints
    I've been using my first Jacquard Neopaque and Lumiere acrylic paint Exciter Packs for many years. 

    There are also a Lumiere Exciter Pack with 9 pearlescent and metallic colors and a Lumiere & Neopaque Exciter Pack with 7 metallic Lumiere shades plus black and white Neopaque. As with the Textile line, these two Exciter Packs are a great way to get a nice variety of colors in smaller quantities for a very affordable price. I have purchased both of these Exciter Packs as well as full-size bottles of the Neopaque black and white and Lumiere duo-chrome colors I use most. I recently bought another of the Lumiere assortments because some older colors have been discontinued and newer ones added.

    Another advantage of Jacquard Lumiere and Neopaque acrylic paints is that they adhere well to a wide range of surfaces including paper, wood, rubber, vinyl, leather and rubber, in addition to fabric, and can be used for many different types of projects. I have gotten more than my money’s worth out of mine. 

    For example, I completely transformed an old pair of boring, frumpy, beige comfort sandals by painting the leather with Lumiere for the uppers and black Neopaque to edge the sole, and then sewing on some faux jeweled trim. 

    Before and after photos of beige sandals painted aqua and blue

    Heat-Set Fabric Painting Medium 

    You also can achieve successful results by mixing permanent, highly pigmented art or craft acrylic paints 50/50 with a good quality fabric medium, such as Golden GAC 900 Heat-Set Fabric Painting Medium or Martha Stewart Tintable Fabric Medium. 

    Pébéo Setacolor

    If you are painting a very special piece of clothing or textile, you may want to consider the Pébéo Setacolor line. These superb fabric paints come in an extensive range of beautiful colors and finishes. Although they are more expensive than the Jacquard fabric paints, superior quality, performance and product selection make Pébéo Setacolor products a favorite among many professional painted clothing artists and enthusiasts. 

    Pébéo Setacolor Light Fabrics are transparent and include 44 matte, metallic, glitter, and fluorescent shades. Pébéo Setacolor Opaque comes in 77 matte and “shimmer opaque” shades with glitter, pearlescent, metallic and iridescent finishes that dry softer, smoother and more flexible than most other opaque textile paints. There are also Pébéo Setacolor 3D fabric paints that come in tubes with small nozzles that are great for adding raised outlines or dimensional accents to your painted clothing designs. 

    The most affordable way to try these terrific paints is with one of the 10-color introductory sets, the Pébéo Setacolor Light Fabrics Discovery Kit or the Pébéo Setacolor Opaque Discovery Kit

    Use Fabric Paints and Stencils for Beautiful, Affordable, One-of-a-Kind Handmade Gifts 

    Stencils are made in just about any pattern or theme you could want and require no artistic talent to use.

    I have used inexpensive fabric stencils of flowers, gardening tools and bees to decorate a sweatshirt for my mother-in-law who loves to garden. 

    One of my husband’s favorite gifts from me is a forest green sweatshirt I purchased for him many years ago and stenciled with a cascade of metallic and pearlescent autumn leaves. It has been worn and washed so many times that the fleece is pilling, and the color has faded. By now, the paint isn’t quite as bright or shiny as it once was, either, but it’s still hasn’t cracked, flaked or worn off, and he still wears it proudly.

    Photo of man wearing dark green sweatshirt with a stenciled metallic leaf design
    My husband still loves and wears this sweatshirt I stenciled for him many years ago. 

    You can use alphabet stencils to personalize a T-shirt, hoodie or other garment with the gift recipient’s name or add a meaningful word or message. 

    Older children will also love using fabric paints and stencils to turn simple, inexpensive pieces of clothing into personalized gifts for special friends and family members.

    Stenciled or hand painted tablecloths, napkins, placemats and table runners also make wonderful gifts. Painting them with snowflakes, pointsettias and other seasonal designs makes any holiday a bit more festive. 

    I hope I have inspired you to give fabric paints a try!

    The Best Acrylic Fabric Paints for Painting Clothes and Accessories


    The Best Acrylic Fabric Paints for Painting Clothes and Accessories by Margaret Schindel


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    Wednesday, June 16, 2021

    This Easy $3 Hack Prolongs Your Charging Cables' Life

    Apple Lightning cables, Thunderbolt cables, and several types of USB cables remain in widespread use, despite the prevalence of Bluetooth wireless technology. You probably own multiple chargers and other types of cables to power, recharge and connect your mobile phones, digital cameras, tablets, e-readers, laptop or desktop computers, wired printers and other electronic equipment and peripherals, whether or not they are Bluetooth-enabled.

    If you are frustrated by how often even expensive, top-rated phone chargers and other charging cords and cables need to be repaired or replaced, you’ll appreciate this quick, easy and inexpensive DIY hack that will strengthen and significantly prolong the life of your charging cables and data transfer cables. I’ll show you how to reinforce and extend the manufacturer’s built-in strain relief for the connectors on the ends of these cords with a small, single-use pack of Sugru moldable rubber glue and a few minutes of your time.

    There's no way to predict exactly how much longer yours will last with this hack, since there are quite a few possible variables at play. However, I can say that, as someone who tends to be pretty hard on iPhone charging cables, USB cables and other cords for my various electronics and digital devices, using Sugru to strengthen my new cables before I start using them has roughly doubled the useful life of several of mine.

    Apple Lightning to USB iPhone charging cables before and after reinforcing the strain relief with Sugru moldable rubber glue
    It took only a few minutes and less than $3 worth of Sugru moldable rubber "glue" to reinforce and extend the strain release on this new Anker Powerline+ III Apple Lightning to USB-A charging cable.

    How Many Types of Charging Cables Do You Use?

    USB cables are ubiquitous home, office and mobile device staples. In addition to charging most of our electronic devices, these cords are also used to transfer files and photos from a digital camera or mobile phone to a desktop, laptop or tablet, send documents, images and other data to a regular, multifunction or 3D printer, electronic cutting machine or other device with a USB port, and to sync files, photos and other data among digital devices, either instead or as an alternative to using Bluetooth or other wireless technology options.

    Most households own multiple mobile phones, tablets, computers, printers and other digital devices that require different types of USB charging cables and cords for data transfer. For example, I use both USB-A to Apple Lightning cables and USB-C to Apple Lightening cables to charge my iPhone or transfer data from my iPhone to my Windows laptop and a USB-A to USB-C cable to charge my Fire HD 10 tablet, while my husband’s old Samsung Galaxy S5 Android phone uses a Micro USB Type B to USB-A charging cable. 

    An Ounce of Prevention Is Worth a Pound of Cure

    High-quality charging cables usually have more substantial, durable and usually molded integral strain relief than cheap ones. However, even on better quality USB charging cords from top brands such as Anker, if care isn’t taken to avoid undue tension or torsion at the connector ends, the strain relief may not be sufficient to prevent a wire in a shielded cable from breaking or stop the insulation, shield and jacket layers that surround those wires from splitting, fraying or separating from the connectors.

    Using Sugru moldable glue to repair charging cords when the outer layers fray or split has long been a popular hack. While encasing the cable ends and connectors with this durable, air-cured rubber putty can sometimes extend the lifespan of a cable with relatively minor surface damage, such as a frayed cord or a small tear in the insulation, it can’t fix one that has stopped working because of a loose or broken wire. So, instead of waiting until one of these issues develops and having to attempt a DIY repair or pay a repair service more money to fix the broken cord or charger than it would cost to buy a new one, I highly recommend taking a more proactive approach by using Sugru to reinforce the strain relief the manufacturer has added to a new cable as soon as you remove it from the packaging. It's simple, inexpensive precaution that can significantly extend or even double a laptop, tablet or phone charger's useful life.

    At the time of this post’s publication, you can order a 3-pack of Sugru moldable glue on Amazon for $7.99 with free shipping for Amazon Prime members. That equates to $2.66 for each single-use pack, which contains the perfect amount of Sugru for this quick and easy DIY project. So, for less than $3 each, you can beef up the strain relief to prolong the life of your new or lightly used charging cables. 

    Since there are so many ingenious and useful Sugru hacks that use this strong, adhesive, self-hardening rubber putty, you may want to order the more economical Sugru moldable multi-use glue 8-pack, available on Amazon for $16.99 with free Prime shipping as write this, which brings down the cost of each pack to just $2.12 per (or even less with the current $3 off coupon).

    Another consideration: One single-use pack of Sugru is enough to reinforce two cord ends. I prefer to reinforce both ends of my charging cables, so I use one pack for each cable. However, many people reinforce only one end of each cord, and if that's your preference, you can strengthen the strain relief on two chargers with each single-use pack, 

    Note: If you aren’t a Prime member already, I highly recommend taking advantage of the Amazon Prime 30-day free trial. You can take a month to explore and enjoy the wide range of valuable benefits of being an Amazon Prime member—plenty of time to decide whether or not the annual membership fee would be worth it for you and your family.

    Sugru: Use It or Lose It

    Sugru begins to cure and morph from a soft putty to a hard rubber as soon as it is exposed to air. So, the minute you tear open one of the foil pouches, the clock starts ticking. According to the manufacturer's website, "Once you open your single-use pack, the moisture in the air will trigger the setting process giving you 30 minutes to fix, bond and create before Sugru begins to harden." So, it's important to work quickly so you will have enough time to complete and refine your project within that 30-minute window. [Source]

    Since the company has not found yet found a way to extend Sugru's working time once it is exposed to air, make sure you have everything set out and ready to go before you open that airtight, sealed foil pouch. And, if you only need part of the packet's contents for your project—for example, if you only want to reinforce one end of a charging cable—try to plan another project (or two) to use up the remainder of the Sugru during that 30-minute "open time" so none of it goes to waste. 

    Even unopened Sugru has a limited shelf life and an expiration date that is marked on the packaging. However, the good news is that Sugru was reformulated last fall and one of the new formula's improvements is that you can increase the product's shelf life as much as three times by storing the single-use pouches in the refrigerator from the time you bring them home until you're ready to use them.

    How to Strengthen Your Charging Cables to Prolong Their Useful Life

    Follow these simple, step-by-step instructions for reinforcing and extending the manufacturer's existing strain relief collar or band with this easy $3 charging cable Sugru hack.

    What You'll Need

    Note: Teflon is one of the few materials that Sugru won't stick to before it cures. Even if you prefer not to cook or bake with it, this nonstick sheet can be extremely useful for crafting and DIY projects. Unfortunately, I couldn't find mine recently when I was photographing this DIY tutorial, so I tried substituting a sheet of wax paper to protect the cutting board I used as my portable work surface. The Sugru glue did stick to the wax paper somewhat, so I don't recommend it. If you don't have (or don't want to buy) a piece of nonstick sheet for crafting and DIY, I suggest trying plastic wrap aka cling film, which might work better.

    Materials and supplies needed: charging cable, Sugru moldable glue, optional container of soapy water

    Step 1: Set Up Your Workspace With Everything You Will Need Before You Open the Pack of Sugru.

    The second the Sugru inside a sealed foil pouch is exposed to air, the clock starts ticking on the 30-minute window of working time before the rubber putty starts to cure. So, it's a good idea to get as much set up as you can to maximize that limited window of opportunity, before the countdown begins.

    • Clear off a flat workspace and cover it with the nonstick sheet.
    • Remove the charging cord (or cords) from its packaging, loosen the hook-and-loop fastener cable tie just enough to pull out the connector end(s) you will be reinforcing for easy access, then re-tighten the cable tie.
    • Fill a small container with lukewarm soapy water, if using.
    • Set a countdown timer or app for 30 minutes, or put your watch. clock, or mobile phone clock where you can see them.
    • Pull out a single-use pack of Sugru moldable glue in the color of your choice, which can match, complement or contrast with the color of the charging cord.
      • For this tutorial, I chose a pack of black Sugru to make it easy to distinguish between the original strain relief collar band of the red Anker Powerline+ III Lightning to USB-A charging cable and the new, longer and thicker Sugru molded rubber reinforcement I added.

    When everything is set up and ready to go, start the countdown timer (or make note of the time) and cut or tear open the sealed foil pouch of Sugru. It's show time!

    Step 2: Remove the Sugru and Divide It in Half.

    Lightly roll each half into a ball and then into a log or sausage shape long enough to cover and extend past the charging cable's strain relief collar or band, as shown. 

    Step 3: Taper, Flatten, Wrap and Shape a Sugru Log Around One End of the Charging Cord.

    Taper one of the Sugru logs slightly, then gently flatten it with your fingertips until it's just wide enough to wrap around one end of the cable. Align the wider end of the tapered, flattened Sugru log so it overlaps the bottom edge of the connector or plug cover slightly. Then, wrap the edges of the Sugru around the cord, lightly pressing and stroking the soft rubber putty so it conforms smoothly, evenly and snugly and tapers gradually as it extends past the strain relief band and onto the outer cord covering.

    When you are happy with the shape of your molded rubber strain relief reinforcement, stroke the surface lightly with a fingertip to smooth out any bumps, seams or uneven edges. 

    Red Anker Powerline+ III Lightning to USB A Charging/Sync Cable strengthened with black Sugru moldable rubber glue DIY strain relief reinforcements

    If you want to further refine the appearance of your Sugru-enhanced cable strain relief, you can dip your finger into some soapy water for the final smoothing, which will allow your fingertip to glide over the surface of the soft, sticky Sugru rubber to smooth away any fingerprints, lumps, bumps, or unevenness. 

    You can see how much smoother and more refined the black Sugru wraps are on this Anker Powerline+ III Lightning to USB-A iPhone charging cable compared to the slightly lumpier, less evenly shaped red Sugru wraps on the Amazon Basics Nylon USB-A to Lightning Cable Cord, MFi Certified Charger for Apple iPhone in the next photo, which I formed without the benefit of any soapy water lubricant. The red Sugru strain relief hack looks fine, too, just a bit less "finished." 

    Red Amazon Basics USB-A to Lightning Cable Apple iPhone Charger, with ends and connectors reinforced with rubber Sugru moldable glue

    Just make sure to keep and eye on the countdown clock, so you can leave enough time to reinforce, shape and smooth the other end of the charging cord (or a second charging cable) before the Sugru starts to cure and becomes harder to form and refine.

    Step 4: Repeat With the Remaining Sugru.

    Repeat step 3, using the second log of Sugru to reinforce the other end of the same cable or another charging cord.

    Tip: If you are reinforcing both ends of the same cord, be careful not to let the first newly-reinforced cord end bump into anything accidentally while you are working on strengthening the strain relief on the other end, since the Sugru will still be soft and easily marred. One big advantage of working on a PTFE/Teflon sheet is that you can lay the first Sugru-covered end flat on the nonstick sheet, where it can remain undisturbed (if you're careful not to jostle it) as you form the remaining rubber putty around the other end of the cable.

    Step 5: Allow the Sugru Rubber-Reinforced Charging Cable(s) to Cure, Undisturbed, For 12 to 24 Hours.

    If you can arrange the cord(s) so that the reinforced ends lay flat against the nonstick sheet-covered work surface, that's probably the easiest option.

    Alternatively, you may be able to hang the cable over a wall hook, shower curtain rod, towel rack, or even a doorknob, as I did, as long as the still-soft Sugru cord ends don't touch anything, including each other until the next day. 

    By the following day, the moldable rubber will be fully cured, providing much more robust cord strain relief and helping to prolong the lifespan of the many types of phone chargers and other charging cables that power and connect the devices you rely on for information, education, communication, entertainment, work and play.


    This Easy $3 Hack Prolongs Your Charging Cables' Life by Margaret Schindel


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